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28 October 2014
Legacies - Highland

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© Mike Roper
The Sutherland Clearances

The Highland Clearances remain an evocative subject in Scotland to this day, with lurid stories of cruel tacksmen forcing the poor Highlanders from their land and the evictions being described as an early form of ethnic cleansing. However, at the time these events were thought of by many as "improvements" and the solution to an overpopulated and perpetually poor region. No event shows this polarisation of opinion and the spin regarding the Clearances more than the evictions on the land of the Countess of Sutherland in the remote north-western tip of Scotland. More...

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Your comments

1 Alan Harley from Telford - 15 October 2003
"I'm from Shropshire but remember well reading John Prebble's The Highland Clearances and being amazed at the cruelty and duplicity of the Sutherland Clan leaders towards their own people. The particular resonance for me was the fact that, through dynastic marriage to the Leveson-Gower 'clan' they continued their exploitation in Shropshire through vast land, mining and iron-making concerns. A local story relates how the Sutherland Estate expected tenant farmers and smallholders to paint their buidings white so that when the Sutherlands took in the view from the top of Lilleshall Hill they could see all they owned - most of North Shropshire! "

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Look back into the past using the Legacies' archives. Find nearly 200 tales from around the country in our collection.

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BBC History - The Highland Clearances
In Search of Scotland - Agricultural Improvements
Strathnaver Museum
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